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Reflections On The Release Of Hidden Power

Well, I admit that I pushed myself a little bit harder than I probably should have, but I’ve managed to get Charlotte Powers 3: Hidden Power released before flitting away to Japan (and with, oh, at least two days to spare). I did consider skipping a proof in order to release it even earlier, but decided against it—I only picked up one actual error on that last round but it was a doozy (‘baseball leg’ instead of ‘baseball bat’, I would have been horribly embarrassed to let that one through), so I’m glad I gritted my teeth and just did it. Cover graphic and link? Yes, I think so:

After actually publishing something I usually feel a combination of satisfaction and emptiness, and this time is no exception. I really do put everything I have into my books, no corners cut however tempting it might be to do so—that final proof is a good example, how much did it improve the book, really? By one percent? Less? It’s the law of diminishing returns, the first edit might give a twenty percent improvement to the book, the next ten percent, then five, then three, then two, then one, but even that one percent improvement, catching another error, tightening up those final few sentences that are just a little loose, killing that ‘she said’ which isn’t really necessary, adding that single line of description that really sets the tone of a scene, all of these things really are just so important to me. Little details. Little details are important. After the last proof I did on the book my feeling was that doing another could possibly catch another error or two, would maybe turn up a few sentences that could be better, but in terms of story and polish, I was (and am) happy. I think part of being not just a writer but an author—and in a certain sense a publisher—is learning when to say ‘this is as good as I can reasonably expect to make it; it’s time to cut the cord’. That’s probably the single most important skill I’ve developed through this whole indie author adventure; learning to finish things, really finish them, not just outlining and writing a first draft that I come back to every so often mostly because I want to read that scene I’m particularly fond of, but focused crafting of not just a story but a book.

Anyway, I hope people like this one. The ending is even more difficult than Power Play’s (which was pretty bad, in that sense), but it’s all going somewhere. I’m not just throwing these things together, I have a definite end in mind and know just what has to happen to reach that end. So after Hidden Power there are going to be two more books, Rising Power and then Power Overwhelming, and that’ll be the end of Charlotte’s story. For better or worse. After that, I don’t know. I have other projects and other series but I don’t want to let go of Charlotte’s world just yet; there are stories still to tell.

Anyway, for now I’m happy with where I am. I was especially happy at the response to my pre-release announcements—that there was any response at all was amazing. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just writing entirely for myself, making these little stories for no grander reason than my own amusement, and now here I am, slowly but surely getting my books into the hands of people who actually want to read them—who look forward to the next in the series enough to say ‘yay!’ or ‘hurry up!’ when I announce it’s coming. These sorts of things might seem minor but they really do mean a lot to me, and I’m grateful to all my readers. The simple truth is that this wouldn’t be nearly as fun without you.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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Family, Mystery, Comics (I’m kind of a fake), Infinite Slaps

Today was mostly a family day, helping take the girls to swimming, feeding the ducks with Miya, accompanying her through the combined terrors and delights of The Big Slide, all that sort of fun stuff. Consequently I didn’t get much work done, except to work on something I’m going to be all mysterious about.

Something that I’m not going to be mysterious about at all is this:

A Kindle Can Ruin Your Night – Marion Harmon’s Blog Post About Charlotte Powers: Power Down

I haven’t had much feedback about Power Down–actually, I hadn’t had any. So it’s really nice that someone enjoyed it, especially someone who’s obviously well-versed in superhero lore. I have a terrible secret; I’m NOT well-versed in superhero lore. Oh, I know the big names and I’ve skirted the edges throughout my life, but the only superhero comics I own are the really huge hits like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke. This comes partly from living in New Zealand, where growing up I was lucky to find the occasional stray copy of 2000AD, which would most likely contain the middle parts of five different stories which I’d never find any other parts of ever. And which I loved to death anyway. In any case, comics have always, to me, seemed to be this distant, wonderful, alien thing. Now that I’ve grown up I’ve explored some of the bigger titles, especially Batman comics, and of course I love superhero movies and cartoons just as much as anyone, and I think that even if I don’t have a background in actual superhero comic reading, that I do have a good understanding of what makes comics special, and what makes them work, and what makes superheroes so much fun and so interesting. In any case, creating the superhero/supervillain pantheon for Charlotte Powers, as well as the backstory and history of her world, is probably the single most fun thing I’ve done as a writer. Creating the different powers and setting out the rules and limitations for them is also almost too much fun, I have to stop myself before I get too carried away–especially with the second book, in which there are presently twenty-three distinct powers. Still, I think it’s important to establish these things early on and stick to the rules you’ve created–as a reader, there’s little that irritates me more than a writer just pulling things out of nowhere to fit the situation at hand. What I like to see is a character using their established abilities in creative and interesting ways.

To finish, something that I’ve been giggling at all day; Tyrion slaps Joffrey FOREVER:

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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